The Jewel of New England sits a mere 5 miles off the southern coast of Massachusetts. With a rich history, thriving culture, and miles of seemingly endless beaches, it’s no question why Martha’s Vineyard is such a popular destination. It’s hard to list them all, but MVOL presents this handy summary of the major island attractions.
“It’s only an Island when you view it from the water,” goes the saying from Jaws’ Chief Brody, and when you’re coming over on the ferry you’ll surely notice the miles of shoreline. The beaches are great, water temperatures usually peak in August. Unfortunately not all of the shoreline is public. Some up-island beaches are exclusively for town residents & guests, others are completely off limits. But, there are plenty of public beaches for your enjoyment. Click here for a comprehensive list / map of island beaches.
The Gay Head & East Chop Lighthouses recently turned 150 years old and 130 years old, respectively. These represent two of a total of five lighthouses scattered along the Vineyard and Nantucket sounds. All are fully functional and meticulously maintained. Tours are available. For more information, visiting the Martha’s Vineyard Museum.
Nestled within the heart of Oak Bluffs are over 180 small cottages that make up the “Campgrounds.” Evolved from tents & mail-order catalogues, these cottages represent a completely different era and are preserved by private owners and the Martha’s Vineyard Campmeeting Association. For information regarding the Martha’s Vineyard Campmeeting Association call 508-693-0525 or visit www.mvcma.org.
The oldest operating carousel in the country, flying horses represents the birth of Martha’s Vineyard as a tourist destination. Originally built in Coney Island in 1876, the horses made the trip to Martha’s Vineyard in 1884 and have been a permanent fixture since. The property is now owned and managed by the Martha’s Vineyard Preservation Trust. For more information click here:
Originally referred to as “the gaily-colored head of the island” by sailors, Gay Head (Aquinnah) is the western-most town on Martha’s Vineyard rightly famous for its National Landmark lighthouse and multi-colored clay cliffs. A trip to the cliffs is surely a treat and on good days, views of the Elizabeth Islands (including Cuttyhunk) and towns as far away as Newport, Rhode Island are visible to the naked eye. Map It>
This wonderfully designed Japanese-Style garden is peacefully located within the pine forest of Chappaquiddick. Walking through the property is a vacation within your vacation and is not to be missed. The Mytoi Garden is easy to reach when on bike-friendly Chappaquiddick. For more information click here or contact 508-627-7689.
It is the seat of Dukes County and the largest town on Martha’s Vineyard. Get lost on its picturesque streets and drift away to the age of Whaling Captains & nautical legends. Stand at the steps and marvel the dominating Whaling Church, shop unique boutiques and dine on world class cuisine. Edgartown has it all.
Polly Hill Arboretum:
This year-round arboretum is the work of renowned horticulturalist Polly Hill. Sitting on over twenty acres of land, the arboretum is home to nearly 1700 different types of plants including the famous “North Tisbury Azalea.” Polly Hill is open year round. For more information click here. 508-693-9426
A trip up-island to Chilmark and Aquinnah is a must and the scenery sells itself. Escape the crowds and take a trip along North, Middle, or South Roads through West Tisbury and Chilmark and take in all the rural delights and perhaps the finest scenery in New England. The boundary-marking stonewalls, rolling hills and sea views will no doubt take your breath away.
Martha’s Vineyard Land banks & Open Spaces:
Martha’s Vineyard is not only a destination for shopping & dining. In fact, the island is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. Land banks boast miles of trails, kayaking ponds and room for your four-legged friends to roam. For more information click here. (508) 627-7141
Martha’s Vineyard Museum
Edgartown’s Martha’s Vineyard Museum is the Island’s largest repository of cultural artifacts, historic photographs, archival records, and genealogical records. The museum strives to broaden awareness and access to the Island’s history and shared memory. Come join us and discover our past and present and participate in the museum’s numerous summertime activities. More>
Aquinnah Cultural Center
Take a stroll around and learn about the island’s indigenous past. Meet Moshup and experience 10000 years of legends on Noepe (Martha’s Vineyard). More>